It has been on my to-figure-out list for years, but I finally found out how find out (repetition intended) how many subscribers I have to this highly irregular blog of mine. I have 26! Which is actually more than I expected, so now I feel like I should post more often, but not so often that it irritates people enough to unsubscribe.
Even if this blog begins to bleed subscribers, it’s okay. I am continuing to try to operate more independently of social media, so if that means keeping a blog that makes me sound alternately like a curmudgeon and a quirky elderly person because that is apparently what my diary voice is like, then so be it.
To my great regret, I have not shared the following earth-shattering piece of news here yet: I have finished writing the manuscript for the third and final book of the Oddfits trilogy, a.k.a. The Disordered Spring. I actually finished it mid-year last year. I think I was hoping to be able to announce who the Brand New Publisher of the Oddfits Trilogy in Its Entirety would be, but my wonderful agent tells me to be patient and assures me ‘All in good time’ and that I probably won’t need to self-publish them. Have no fear, I stand at the ready to self-publish them at a discouraging email’s notice. I love the trilogy too much to not unleash it on the general public and loyal Oddfans.
For my next post, I will share an excerpt from the unpublished manuscript, just so you don’t think I’ve been stringing you along falsely all this time. I even made a graphic to commemorate the occasion, so I definitely can’t be lying about it.
In other news. Norman Erikson Pasaribu and I and our UK publisher (Tilted Axis Press) won the 2022 Republic of Consciousness Prize for Small Presses – for my translation of Norman’s short story collection Happy Stories, Mostly! It is a really cool prize. For only the very coolest of kids. So, yeah, turns out we are cool.
Happy Stories, Mostly was also longlisted for the International Booker Prize! Hold on to your socks, US of A, it is coming out with The Feminist Press on June 6th, 2023. So, my dear Americans, you may want to pre-order because, you know, it will fly off the shelves just like magic and you will be left HappyStories,Mostly-less. Behold the US cover in all its toothy, flaming glory.
My translation of Budi Darma’s short story collection People from Bloomington came out with Penguin Classics in April last year. As you know from a previous blog entry, Budi Darma passed away before the release of the English edition of his collection and it was a great tragedy. Some good news in this area too, however: People from Bloomington has been longlisted for the 2023 PEN Translation Prize.
And most recently, and with impeccable timing because of this good news about People from Bloomington: I wrote an essay about translating Budi Darma’s People from Bloomington. The English version is now online at the Sydney Review of Books.
Actually, I was invited to write this essay by the Malaysian journal Svara, for publication in Malay/Indonesian translation. But the English version happens to have come out first. The Indonesian-language version, translated by Norman Erikson Pasaribu, will be coming out in Svara‘s next issue. The essay is called ‘When We Became the People from Bloomington’. Here are a few lines of it:
Every day, I immersed myself in Budi Darma’s short story collection: in the mornings during my allotted working time, during any other hours of the day I could sneak in, and at night after the kids had gone to bed. It became the cave into which I retreated in order to escape reality. But soon it became apparent that the stories weren’t a retreat at all, but a mirror, reflecting, even magnifying, what was going wrong with the real world.